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The Vatican & the Holocaust: Historians Discover Nazi-Era Notes of Future Pope Pius XII

(October 10, 2006)

Hubert Wolf of the University of Muenster is leading a team of German historians who are studying the papacy’s response to the Nazis. They have have found notes in the Vatican secret archives written between 1930 and 1939 by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, indicating that Vatican officials were very well informed about world events up to 1939. “I would say that when the British and U.S. governments obtained certain knowledge that the Final Solution was happening,” Wolf said, “the Vatican would also have found out.”

Pacelli, born in 1876 in Rome, had a close knowledge of Germany, having been papal nuncio in Berlin from 1917 till 1929. As Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pacelli met daily with his predecessor Pius XI.

The trove of correspondence from the archives that have been recently opened will take years to decipher, the researchers said, because of the way they were coded. The initial report on the discovery of the notes gave no indication that they would shed any new light on the controversial record of Pius XII during the Holocaust.

Sources: Deutsche Presse-Agentur